In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Friday, September 24, 2010

visit from a northern harrier

A group of students and teachers from the Learning Centre in nearby Barrington Passage came on the island today. As we were all outside making apple cider, we spied an amazing hawk. Well, she would have been hard to ignore. She swooped and soared among the bayberry and dived down into the bog and generally put on a riveting demonstration of hunting skills. (Though as far as we could see no animals were harmed in this show.)Then she posed for a while on an old overturned tree trunk. Though this picture is distant, you can see her owl-like face, I hope.
I'm pretty sure this is a female northern harrier. The hens were clucking and pecking in the front yard, not far away, oblivious as usual. But our visitor seemed to have other fish to fry.
She flew off, and over the lower orchard,
and then along the shore into the skeleton forest.
In England the northern harrier is called a hen hawk. I'm glad the chickens didn't know that.


Piecefulafternoon said...

It is so great to see the hawks in their hunt (if they aren't after the hens). I had no idea they had an owl-like face - fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

Hazel said...

See, Anne, you can identify birds! I didn't know they were called Hen Hawks in England; here they were called Marsh Hawks perhaps because they often nest in marshes.

This one could very well be a juvenile judging by the breast colour. I love watching them fly low over our field hunting for voles.